A blog post by Ageless Bonding on the wearing of the half-sari brought back memories of my teenage years. I was decidedly plump and the fashion at that point was for tight salwar kameezes, where the salwar was loose, almost like today's but the kameez/kurta was cut like the vintage sheath dresses of the early 60s--like this.
I remember one of the girls I knew, come to church in a kurta cut even tighter than this dress (if possible) and her having to waddle up the stairs into church cos it was too tight to allow her to stride! Of course, not that many of my classmates were allowed to wear skirts that were that narrow. But,being a good deal thinner than me, they were able to wear other kinds of Western clothes.
We had a school uniform with a pleated skirt and a blouse, which were both white--in the Cal summer, while in winter we had a darker colour serge skirt and we got to wear cardigans. Now I was quite buxom in comparison to many of my classmates and I hated it--being stared at by sick men who must have thought I was older than my 13 years. I used to be so grateful for the winter uniform, when the cardi kind of hid my boobs. It was around that time that my mother decided that I really was way too busty to be wearing any kind of Western clothes and certainly not the narrowly cut kurtas. And so sari it was that I wore for all formal occasions. I was only allowed to wear Western clothes to the homes of family or to school--an all girls' one.
So, all the clothes that I would have loved to wear, I designed and made for my paper dolls ( I had been lucky to get a sort of Barbie & Ken type pair of paper dolls!) and for my skinny younger sister.
And later, when I left home to join university and I lost around 15 pounds in the first term, I almost completely gave up wearing saris, switching to the then fashion of loose kurtas and churidhars. Bliss!